Bangladesh Human Rights Monitoring Report of April 2014 from Odhikar

 

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  • Political violence persists
  • Post upazila election violence
  • Barriers to meetings and assemblies Extrajudicial killings
  • Allegations of enforced disappearance
  • Freedom of the media
  • Amar Desh Acting Editor allegedly deprived of treatment Freedom of opinion and expression
  • Public lynching
  • Human rights of religious minority communities Information and Communication Technology Act 2006 (Amended 2009 and 2013)
  • Human rights violations along the border by BSF Bangladesh deprived of adequate water Situation of ready-made garment workers Violence against women 

Odhikar believes that ‘democracy’ is a form of the State and presupposes that freedom and human rights are its foundations. Democracy is not merely a process of electing a ruler. Democracy is the result of the peoples’ struggle for inalienable rights, which become the fundamental premise to constitute the State defining collective aspirations and responsibilities. Therefore, the individual freedoms and democratic aspirations of the citizens – and consequently, peoples’ collective rights and responsibilities - must be the foundational principles of the State.

The States failure to recognise this at the founding moment is a continuing curse that people are forced to carry. A State cannot be ‘democratic’ if the people do not realise and participate as ‘citizens’ in all sectors of the functioning of the state. The democratic legitimacy of the State is directly related to its commitment and capacity to ensure human rights, such as right to life and livelihood, right to environment and health; and the dignity and integrity of citizens. If all these are not ensured by the State, it cannot be called a ‘democratic’ state. These civil and political rights, as the foundational principles of the State, must remain inviolable; and accordingly, the Parliament, Judiciary and Executive cannot and should not have any power to abrogate them through any legislation, judicial verdict or executive order. The people’s inviolable rights are the foundational principles of the State.

Odhikar, being an organisation of human rights defenders in Bangladesh, has been struggling to ensure these civil and political rights. Odhikar stands against all forms of human rights violations and accordingly participates and remains directly involved in the human rights movement in Bangladesh. Odhikar brings to the movement the strategic perspective that in its demand for civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, the human rights movement not only endeavours to protect the victims, but also, in countries like Bangladesh, is constitutive of a democratic state. In recent times, Odhikar’s human rights defenders have been persecuted for their work and beliefs. However, this has only strengthened the organisation’s resolve to fight for human rights, with no discrimination whatsoever.

The movement to establish the rights and dignity of every individual is part of the struggle to constitute Bangladesh as a democratic, political community. As part of its mission, Odhikar monitors the human rights situation of Bangladesh to report violations and defend the victims. In line with this campaign, Odhikar prepares and releases monthly situation reports. Odhikar has released this human rights monitoring report for April 2014, despite facing harassment and threats to its existence.

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